April 13, 2005

My Day

[Fair warning: This is a tedius post. I wrote it for my own amusement health.--TS]

I haven't used an alarm clock in about a year and a half (long story, nevermind). But, I'm usually pretty good at waking up around 6-6:30am. This morning I woke up at 8:15. Do'h! Housemate Chris was in the shower and using up all the hot water. D'oh!

I got dressed as I pondered how my commute would go this morning. I'll catch the 9:15ish Park Avenue bus and transfer to the 9:30 Coastal Link (CL2) downtown. I'll get off at Milford Green and make a bank deposit to cover my incoming rent check. Since the next CL2 leaves downtown at 9:50, so I'll have about 20 minutes to go to the bank and maybe grab a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Plenty of time. I'll get on the CL2 at about 10:30, or so, and be at work by 10:45. Late, yes. But, no biggie since we're not really busy and there's only one pressing job.

Chris fi-i-i-i-nally came out of the bathroom around 8:45 and I ran in to brush my teeth and...y'know...do some other morning stuff. Of course, it ended up taking longer than expected and had to run out the door later than usual.

To catch the 9:15ish I like to leave the house at 9:00. It's about a 7 minute walk to the bus stop and this gives me time to smoke a ciggie and arrive with plenty of time to spare. Chris left the house just before I did. I was hurrying out the door when I realized that the dog was outside and the kitchen door was left wide open. Do'h!

So I went onto the back porch and said "Tuco! Come on in, mon!" He looked at me as if to say "Huh?"
"Come in, come on, let's go!"
"But I just GOT here!"
"Aw, shoot."

He slowly ambled across the yard and up the stairs and into the house. I looked at my watch. 9:08. Do'h!

I took about a minute and a half off my walk by cutting through a neighbor's yard and then power-walked toward the bus stop. I was about thirty seconds from the corner when VVROOOOM!! the bus went whizzing by. D'OH!!!

Okay, the next one comes in half-an-hour. But, this means that not only will I obviously not make the 9:30 CL2, I'll also not make the 9:50. After that they run on the hour. (Well, there's one that leaves at 10:30, but that only goes as far as the Dock Shopping Center -- half-way to my destination.) I'll have to hang around the bus terminal for about 50 minutes. Then, after I get off at Milford Green, I'll have an hours wait for the next CL2 that'll take me close to work. I probably wont get to work 'til around 12:45-1:00. D'oh.

I arrived downtown at about 9:57 and walked to a McDonald's for a cup of coffee. I almost bought breakfast. But, I figured that I'll catch the 10:30 CL2 and get off at the Dock where there's a Stop & Shop and get a sandwich for lunch. So, I got on the 10:30 and got off at the Dock and got a sandwich and side of cole slaw for my lunch. I then called work to let the Boss know that I wouldn't be in 'til around 12:45 or 1:00 because I have to stop at the bank at Milford Green. I talked to Wendy to relayed the message to the Boss.

After I went to bank at Milford Green I decided that I didn't want to hang out at the bus stop for nearly an hour and started walking to work. I arrived, 45 minutes later, at 12:15 -- more than 3 hours after having left the house. I was tired, hungry, thirsty and having to carry my hat because the wind kept blowing it off my head.

"I was searching all over for you!" Wendy said when I walked in. When she gave the Boss my message he asked her if she'd be willing to go get me. She drove down to the Dock and asked a lady if she'd a svelt young man in a camouflage hat and olive green jacket. "Yes," she told Wendy. "He just left on the bus a few minutes ago."

Wendy said she'd followed the bus route but didn't catch up to the bus. She got to the bank and waited for a few minutes. Then she drove back to the shop, but took a different route than I did. "I came up Cherry Street," I told her. "Aah," she sighed, "I took Bridgeport Avenue to Gulf Street!"
Oh, well. I thanked her for trying to find me and headed toward the main printing press where I found two new job boxes and a note from the Boss.

Bob, I would like Dining Furniture and Hayduk finished TODAY. I need to bring DF to bindery to be #'d tomorrow morning and delivered on Friday. Bossman.

Bossman had sold the business and the closing is Friday. He wants to get all of the "big" jobs done this week so's he can get paid for them. The "little" ones can wait 'til next week when the New Boss starts making the moulah. I can't say I blame him, but the jobs he wants me to do -- and the order in which he wants me to do them -- makes my job harder because the running order is impractical. I've been washing up the press to change colors and sizes after virtually every single job for a frickin' week now. Urgh!

I had just washed up the press from black (I'd finished all the black jobs first) to go to blue in order to finish up a two color job on 11x17 stock, and then some other assorted colors. Now he wants me to run a burgandy job followed by, you guessed it, a black job. D'oh! With my lunch on hold and in the fridge, I decided to put the blue ink in and run the job I was set up for. It's 2-sided, but it's only 150 pieces. I'll run it in a jiffy and then go to burgandy and then to black. (It's the black job, of course, that posilutley has to be done today and be taken to be numbered in the morning.)

But, the registration (the closeness of the black and the blue text) is pretty tight and my press doesn't have any sort of modern fine-adjustment screw. Setting it exactly right is hit and miss. After missing for half-an-hour or so I knew that this one tiny job was going to take entirely too long. I had to wash up the press and go to burgandy. d'oh.

As I was just finishing the final wipedown of the rollers that removes enough blue ink to allow me to do a "color wash" (putting in the burgandy, letting it run with what's left of the blue, wiping it down and repeating that step as it runs until the new color is sufficiently burgandy), Bossman's voice comes from behind me and across the room, "Is that press going to run today?"

I put the cotton pad down and looked at the ductor roller. I slowly nodded my head - never turning around. He has no farkin' idea how close I came to putting down the roller, grabbing my coat and walking out the door.
Well, I was never really that close to doing that. I just wish he some inkling of what he was demanding of me and how fast I was working (building up a sweat, I tells ya), or how frustrated I was with my day thus far. He is clueless about all of that. He wants the work done yesterday so's he can get every penny he can before he finally closes his accounts. Whatever. I went on with my lunch in the fridge as he ate his salad. Him, employer. Me, employee. Nevermind that I'm the one getting the work done so's he can have his finally paydy. Nevermind that I haven't eaten anything yet today. It's my job, so I'll nevermind all that and press on.

The big burgandy job, then the big black job. Coffee got me through and all was done. All was well. It was 5:45. I logged out and scarfed down my turkey sandwich and cole slaw.

Okay. So now I need to catch a bus home. I really really really wanna catch the 6:20 so's I can be in downtown Bridgeport in time to catch the 7:10 Park Avenue bus. Otherwise I'll end up taking the #11 which will leave me with a 25 minute walk home. I rushed out the door and started heading for the Stop & Shop near the bus stop so's I can grab some soap and bananas. If I walk fast enough I can be in and out of the store and at the bus stop by 6:20.

Walking across the intersection I heard a voice calling.

"Hey! Yo, Buddy! Can you come here for a second?!" I looked back and some stranger was looking at me and waving me over. What the hell did this guy want? I figured immediately that he wanted to know where I got my hat. Every stranger who talks to me is either asking for a cigarette, spare change, or wants to know where I got my hat.

"Sorry," I called. "I gotts catch a bus!" I walked on briskly into Stop & Shop. I grabbed the soap and bananas and headed for a checkout lane. Only a few lanes were open and all of them had long lines. D'oh!

Standing in line and tapping my foot, because that would make the line move faster, a man approached me.

Hey, Buddy," he said. It was the guy who called me from the car at the intersection. WTF? I smiled to him as he walked up to me. "The reason I was calling you back there -- when you told me you were going to catch a bus -- was because the woman in front of me was stuck. I was hoping you coukld help give her a push to the side of the road."

"Oh, really?" I said. He seemed a bit annoyed at me. "I hope I can still catch it. I dunno, looks like I'll miss it," I said with my watch in hand.

"She might have paid you for your help, man," he continued. "I just want to let you know that not everyone out to hurt you, okay?" Turning away from me he said, with annoyance loud and clear, "I'm only saying it because you apparently felt threatened."

Did I mention that he was black? Of course, not, because that didn't matter until that very moment.

He thought that I felt threatened by him for talking to me on a busy street in broad daylight because he was black. So much so that he followed me into Stop & Shop just to tell me that. WTF?! Can't a guy actually be trying to catch a bus?!

I don't know if I could blame him or not. I tried to see it from his perspective; to see what he saw. I dunno. I just don't know. I do know that I felt terrible. I felt like it was my fault that he was insulted even though I really was trying to catch a frickin' bus. I feel like, through a quirk of circumstance, a black guy believes that he was "racially profiled" by a white guy. He's probably relating that story to friends and family right now. "This white guy felt threaten when I called him over because he saw that I was black," he might be saying. "When will things ever get better..." d'oh.

So, that was my day. All the tedium and the hectic sound and fury and the sinking feeling that tomorrow is another day.

When I get to work tomorrow morning I'm going to take a razorbalde, cut out April 13th and burn that little paper square.

Posted by Tuning Spork at April 13, 2005 10:16 PM

That was quite sucky. The day, I mean, not the post. The post was well written and good.

I wish you a happier day today!

Posted by: RP at April 15, 2005 09:06 AM

Very interesting day, I guess an upside to your job is it seems you have a fairly flexible schedule though. I hope the rest of your week went better!

Posted by: jody at April 15, 2005 09:41 AM

Thanks for the wishes. And, yes, yesterday and today went swimmingly. Especially today. :)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at April 15, 2005 06:01 PM

I have noticed that some customers of color have an enormous chip on their shoulder, and often see a slight based on race where there was none. I blame Al Sharpton....

Posted by: Susie at April 17, 2005 11:18 AM

I blame CNN!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at April 20, 2005 10:18 PM
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